On June 20 the Vatican released the working document for the Church’s synod on synodality, discussions of the world’s bishops scheduled for October 2023 and October 2024. The document provides a “blueprint” for discussion of critical issues facing the Church today.  Earlier this spring, more than 30 active Mariandale participants engaged in synod deliberations at The Center.

The Center’s deliberations focused on the inclusion of all, outreach to the marginalized, and engagement of women and the LGBTQ community.  A summary of their deliberations was sent to the Vatican’s Secretary General, Cardinal Mario Grech.  Mariandale was grateful to receive a warm and prompt letter from the Cardinal thanking The Center for “a welcome show of synodal engagement.”

Pope Francis commenced the 2021-24 Synodal process as an invitation to all the baptized, as the “People of God,” to share collaboratively and to listen to each other express hopes and longings on how the Church may move together in its mission. As Pope Francis says, “We recall that the purpose of the Synod is not to produce documents, but to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope.” The official working document released by the Vatican includes questions about the ordination of women to the diaconate, marriage and the priesthood, reparations for abuse, and the integration of LBGTQ+ Catholics. The fact that these issues will be discussed by the bishops is encouraging.

Dominican Sister of Hope Maureen Sullivan, OP, scholar of Vatican II and advisor to the Mariandale Synod, congratulated the Center for this initiative saying, “This is precisely what synodality can look like! And it is clearly a sign of HOPE.”

Click here to watch Sr Maureen Sullivan’s four-part series exploring the roots of the 2023 Synod in Vatican II. The series was produced by FutureChurch, which in 2022 honored Sr Maureen for helping “us arrive at this moment where synodality, a radically new way of being church, is being shepherded” forward by Pope Francis.